I know it has been quite some time since I updated you. Since my last post in September of 2014, Billy has grown, matured and learned so much.
In September of 2014, Billy began fifth grade. Oh what a year it was for him. Fifth grade began like any other year but it ended with him feeling confident and sure of himself. He gained a sense of pride. He grew more independent. He also strengthened his weakened self-esteem. He was blessed with two amazing teachers Mrs. Fritchie and Mrs. Brunner, who supported and encouraged him throughout the year and still till today they continue to cheer his accomplishments. Billy also had two different wonderful paras who gave him guidance when needed but also gave him the room he needed to grow.
He was also blessed with amazing service providers. I don’t know what I would have done without them through all his elementary years. His speech therapist, Mr. Tom Daus worked so hard with him at every meeting. His occupational therapist, Ms. S was so dedicated in her pursuit of calming strategies for him. His counselor, Ms. McCarthy who always listened to his needs and struggles then managed to make him feel better. I am also thankful for his SETS teacher who was so kind and patient while helping him overcome his struggles with reading.
Now the school year began like all the other years yet it had a slightly different feel to it. This was the big year. He would be graduating in June then moving on to middle school the following September. There was a lot of anticipation and expectations for the year but it did not disappoint.
Early in the year, Billy volunteered to be a monitor for a kindergarten class. When he was chosen, he came out of school beaming with pride that day because the adults in the school believed him to be responsible and mature enough to look after the little ones. Let me tell you he successfully carried out the duties of monitor. The children loved him. He would talk and play with them. He would make them laugh when they were feeling sad. He was so good with them that some of the mothers would comment. One day a mother from a different kindergarten class told me that she wished Billy was her child’s monitor because he would truly pay attention to them. She went on to tell me that during recess he would organize them and play games. Upon hearing those words, tears filled my eyes. My boy had come so far and I was so proud of him. At them end of the school year, the children told me they loved Billy and will miss him. He left a lasting impression on the children which I will never forget.
Starting in fourth grade he became active in the Student Council so in fifth grade he decided to run for President of the Student Council. He loved the idea of being able to make positive changes. He worked hard on his posters which were placed around the school. He devoted so much effort to his speech. The night before the election we had a talk about the possibility of not winning. He was very understanding. He told me that because his opponent is so popular he might not win but that would be “ok” and “I will congratulate him”. I couldn’t be more proud of my child who learned to cope with and accept disappointments with grace. The day of his speech his determination and confidence shined so much that the students voted for him and he became their Student Council president.
March was his annual IEP meeting. At the meeting his teacher told me that he no longer needed the services of a para because he had grown so independent. His service providers told me that he had come so far the he no longer needed to receive their services too. I was blown away by how my child had learned to cope and deal with the stress and by how autonomous he had become. Yet another encounter I had in the school that year which left me in tears. When I walked out of school that day, I was so high in the clouds. I had never experienced such feelings of joy. My boy who had been dealt many struggles had learned to overcome and conquer.
Billy was also recognized at the Awards Assembly. He was given an award for his perseverance, outstanding qualities, dedication to the school. When his name was announced the whole auditorium erupted in applause.
In June at the graduation ceremony, he delivered a speech to the school that had people talking about for quite some time. He remembered to thank everyone starting with the teachers, principal, administrators and worked his way through the entire school staff.
Yes it was truly an amazing year. I will always be grateful to his teachers and service providers for helping Billy achieve his goals.